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Austin Romine Named Yankees’ Backup Catcher

(Photo: Gabe Rodriguez)

Austin Romine was named the Yankees’ backup catcher. (Photo: Gabe Rodriguez)

After nine long seasons, New York Yankees’ catcher Austin Romine’s Big League dream has finally been realized.

On Thursday afternoon Manager Joe Girardi announced that Romine had made the Opening Day 25-Man Roster as the backup to starting catcher Brian McCann.

The twenty-seven year old’s baseball journey began in 2007 when he was drafted by the Yankees  in the second round while attending El Toro High School in California. At the start of his career he was ranked one of the top prospects in New York’s Farm System and exceeded expectations while playing with the High-A Tampa Yankees in 2009 and was even named the Florida State League Player of the Year.

In 2010 he represented the New York Yankees in the annual All-Star Future’s Game and entering the 2011 season was invited to Major League Camp. He played with Double-A Trenton in 2010 and 2011 before being promoted to Triple-A Scranton towards the end of the season and finally got his first Major League promotion in September 2011.

In 2012 he suffered a back injury that limited his playing time. In April 2013 he was sent back to the big leagues to fill in for an injured Francisco Cervelli, he again missed time at the end of the season due to a concussion.

After battling again Jesus Montero for a catching position in the early part of his career he then found himself competing against John Ryan Murphy for his chance to make the active roster.

Romine spent both the 2014 and 2015 season in Scranton and last season hit .260 along with seven homers 49 RBIs.

This past offseason the Yankees traded backup catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins, opening the door to a vacant roster spot. Although speculation swirled that prospect Gary Sanchez was a no brainer for the spot, Romine showed up to camp ready for the challenge.

This spring he hit .306 with a homer and 8 RBIs in 18 games. His already strong defensive skills shined behind the plate and his arm strength was the best it has been since playing pro ball.

The New York Yankees will open the season on Monday as they host the Houston Astros as ACe Masahiro Tanaka will duel against Dallas Keuchel, a repeat of the AL Wild Card Game last fall.

Bethany is a Graduate of the University of South Florida and currently resides in Tampa. She is a die-hard Yankees' fan and has been a freelance writer for six years. She has covered the Yankees' Minor League System since 2010 and also does freelance work for and CBS Local Tampa Bay. Follow her on Twitter @TampaBethany

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